Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Especially grateful this Mother’s Day May 12, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Me with my mom in her assisted living room in 2014. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo by Randy Helbling.


THERE WAS A THURSDAY about two months ago when fear gripped my heart. Our mother, my middle brother texted, was being rushed via ambulance to the hospital and might not survive.

I exited his message, scrolled to my favorites in my contacts and pressed the green phone icon that would link me to my husband. “You need to come home now,” I ordered as I fought to suppress my emotions. He needed to finish a job and then would be on his way.

As I threw clothing into a suitcase—uncertain whether we would be staying overnight—I worried that we might not reach the hospital in time. We had a two-hour drive to Redwood Falls.


I printed this message inside a handmade Mother’s Day card in elementary school.


We arrived to find Mom settling into a room after her transfer from the ER. That afternoon I said my goodbyes to a mother in such obvious physical discomfort and distress that she wanted to die. And I was OK with that. I couldn’t bear to watch her struggling to breathe.


The only photo I have of my mom holding me. My dad is holding my brother Doug.


Many hours later, I hugged Mom for what I thought would be the last time and left her room in tears. In the hallway, I attempted to compose myself before reconnecting with family in the downstairs waiting room. As we left, the next family members rotated in.

Once I’d expelled that initial grief, I didn’t cry. I managed, an hour later, to stand before an audience in a Mankato art gallery and read my prize-winning poem about detasseling corn. I find more and more in difficult situations that I am able to establish an emotional roadblock. Perhaps that’s inner strength. Or denial. Or self-preservation.

I fully expected that we would be heading back west in a few days with black mourning clothes packed. But once again, as she has multiple times in her nearly 85 years, my mom surprised us all by recovering from a major health crisis. Her condition improved overnight and days later she was released back home to a care center.

I am grateful this Mother’s Day to still have my mother on this earth. I am grateful, too, to be the mother of three and the grandmother of one.


My mom saved everything, including this Mother’s Day card I made for her in elementary school. I cut a flower from a seed catalog to create the front of this card.


If your mother is still living, express your love to her via a visit, a phone call and/or a card. If your mother has passed, I hope, rather than grieve, you will remember her with love.

And someone, please remind my son that Sunday is Mother’s Day.


TELL ME: How do you honor the women in your life who are mothers on Mother’s Day?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Mother’s Day thoughts May 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:00 PM
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My oldest daughter and my son pose after the wedding yesterday.

IF YOU ARE A MOM, are you having a good, maybe even great, Mother’s Day?

Mine has been low-key given my family returned a few hours ago from traveling out-of-town to attend our nephew’s wedding on Saturday.

When we dropped our eldest off at her south Minneapolis apartment this afternoon, she asked if the guys had anything planned for me. I accepted her greeting card, promise of a hanging flower basket and told her I didn’t think so.

They are busy.

The husband is napping in the recliner. I should add here that I suggested he take a nap. He deserves to rest after all the long hours he’s been putting in at work lately.

The teenaged son is doing homework and, I think, studying for an Advanced Placement physics test tomorrow. He remembered today was Mother’s Day only after Mother’s Day wishes were exchanged among family members at the hotel this morning.

The second daughter called as our family was driving into Minneapolis. Her timing was perfect, diverting my attention from all the crazy drivers. However, she did cause me to miss some photo ops.

My other daughter.

That all said, my Mother’s Day has been uneventful and not particularly memorable.

But that’s OK. I’ve been with two of my three children and spoken with the third.

In a few hours, I’ll call my mom and wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

If she’s like me, she will appreciate more than any card or gift, the call telling her “I love you.”

Aren’t those the words that really matter the most to mothers on Mother’s Day, and any day?

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling